Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Shamim Malende, the lawyer of Allan Ssewanyana and Muhammad Ssegirinya is protesting the delayed investigations into fresh murder charges against the MPs.
On Wednesday, Malende represented the two MPs who were appearing before the Masaka Grade One Magistrate Christine Nantege, for further mention of additional murder charges and to receive updates on the progress of investigations.
She protested the slow pace in the investigations by the state, arguing that it has unduly subjected the accused persons to prolonged remand sentences.
Earlier on, Richard Birivumbuka, the Chief Resident State Attorney asked the court for more time to allow police to complete their investigations into the offenses against the suspects.
The prosecution alleges that in August last year, the two MPs and their accomplices participated in the murder of Joseph Bwanika, a resident of Kisekka B village, Kisekka sub-county in Lwengo district.
But Birivumbuka told the court that investigations were still incomplete to have the suspects committed to the High Court for trial.
However, Malende questioned why the suspects are still being kept in prison yet the state lacks the required evidence to pin them on the offenses.
Malende accused the state of deliberately dragging in investigations with intentions of persecuting the suspects, through detaining them on remand for long despite their poor health conditions.
The two MPs were re-arrested in September shortly after being released on bail. The state preferred against them fresh charges of murder in addition to seven counts of murder and terrorism they were earlier charged with.
Malende argues that ever since the MPs were rearrested, the state has failed to adduce evidence that would lead to their prosecution which is against the principle of expeditious delivery of justice.
She also complained to the court of the continued contempt of the previous court orders by the prison authorities who were instructed to allow the suspects access to private health service providers.
According to Malende, the two MPs were diagnosed with acute health conditions of renal-failure, acute diabetes, and hypertension that cannot be effectively managed at Kigo prison facilities where they are kept.
However in his response, Birivumbuka told the court that they are still operating within the six-month period within which investigations can be done before a suspect is granted mandatory bail by the court.
He denied any knowledge of any violation of court orders by prison authorities arguing that the accused persons and their lawyers have not formally informed him of the said abuses.
Nantege advised Malende to seek the intervention of the Human Rights Commission if she is not contented with how her clients are being treated in prison. Court also asked the state to speed up investigations in the matter.